Strike Back: Season Two (Blu-ray)
HBO / 2012 / 600 min. / TV-MA
STRIKE BACK began life as a 2007 novel by former Special Air Services soldier Chris Ryan. The soldier turned novelist has had several highly successful book series published since the mid-1990's and if STRIKE BACK is any indication, his television career promises to be just as popular.
The original STRIKE BACK was a six episode British television series that was a colossal success in its native UK, so much so that the network who made it, Sky1, sought additional financing from Cinemax to create a longer, second series that was known as STRIKE BACK: PROJECT DAWN in England or STRIKE BACK: Cinemax Season One in America. The success of that series led to STRIKE BACK: VENGEANCE in the UK, or as it is known here: STRIKE BACK: Cinemax Season Two (this set).
Michael Stonebridge (Philip Winchester) and Damien Scott (Sullivan Stapleton) return as our favorite bad-asses of Section 20. This adventure hits the ground running as Scott is caught up in the middle of a diplomatic kidnapping in Somalia which turns into a chase to recover four rogue nuclear triggers. Stonebridge, meanwhile, is back in the UK trying to come to terms with his wife's recent miscarriage and the trauma of having to kill a trainee who went crazy during a live ammunition training exercise. He is called in to rescue Scott and soon the pair is hopping the globe hunting billionaire philanthropist Conrad Knox (a delightfully scene-chewing Charles Dance) who intends to use the triggers for a "better" Africa.
STRIKE BACK plays more like a big budgeted Hollywood action movie than anything else and the series is all the better for it. It is The dizzying, non-stop, balls-to-the-wall action series on television right now. Nothing else even comes close. While the nudity that accompanies Scott's endless series of trysts feels gratuitous, they never last more than a minute or two before guns are blazing and cities are exploding (okay, it may only feel like entire cities are exploding.) Our leads are a fun and hugely enjoyable pair to take us through the war torn locales and hopefully STRIKE BACK will continue to thrill and take viewers breath away for many more seasons.
The anamorphic 1.78 transfer here is a knockout. The series has a very stylized look with oversaturated colors and intentional noise mixed with intensely crisp detail and beautiful landscapes.
Likewise the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix is loud, active and very immersive. Guns blaze and shrapnel flies everywhere in what is one of the most action-oriented sound mixes for a television series on disc right now. The transfer HBO afforded this release brings everything you could ask for. Top marks all around.
The series is great, the transfer is outstanding, the supplements are... well... lacking. You get four commentaries (Season One got five) with most of the main cast. That's it. The tracks are very enjoyable, informative and are must listens for fans but couldn't even a generic EPK style making of have been included?
Not just one of the best, STRIKE BACK is THE Best Action Series on television right now. Whether you call this set VENGEANCE or Season Two, this is a must see series for all action fans. Highly Recommended!